Monday, August 22, 2016

The Death of a Pancreas

We are only 18 months into my daughter, Maggie’s Type 1 diabetes Diagnosis. At this point in my son Clifford's diagnosis, I remember being angry and confused. I really did not understand the full picture of what had come into our lives. This time around however, I'm in a much better place. I am no longer harboring feelings of anger, and there is no confusion. Instead, I understand what we're dealing with, and what is to come.

If I had to describe where I am exactly, I'm getting over a bad break up, before the breakup officially happens. Her pancreas hasn't quite kicked us to the curb, it hasn't put all pancreatic responsibilities on me just yet, it's still working, reluctantly, still fighting against the attack from her body. There are signs it's giving me from time to time that we will eventually 'break up' officially, those rare 200 numbers are when it lets me know it's getting tired.  But for now, I at least got the opportunity to grieve before we've officially said goodbye to her functioning organ. 

It reminds me in a way of when my Grandma first told me she was diagnosed with cancer. I didn't know how long we had together, I knew she told me she was a fighter and would do everything she possibly could to kick its butt, and I believed her. She was a strong Irish woman, stubborn and tough, and if anyone could do it, she could. Someone reading this that might not understand Type 1 diabetes, may ask, "Are you really comparing her pancreas to your grandmother"?  Yes, Yes I am. If I could go in and rescue my little girl’s organ from this attack, knowing full well it would literally save her life, give her a life free of multiple injections, 10-15 finger pricks daily, and constant worry and fear that she may drop low and we may not catch it, you better believe I'd do that in a heartbeat. Just like when my grandma told me, I wished so hard there was something I could do to take this cancer away from her, to kick it out of her body. 

Until you've lived this life, and have a child who has to live with a chronic illness that has no consistency, doesn't sleep, and never needs a break like we all do, you won't truly understand the connection between the two.  So like the moment I will never forget, when Grandma called me, Maggie's pancreas is letting me down easy, much easier than her brother's did thank goodness. I do not know when it's officially going to kick the bucket, that is an another blog post for another time, processing those feelings of 'not knowing'. But for now, we can enjoy our time together while we still have it. Enjoy that she can sit down to eat without an additional injection for now. I'm doing my best to soak in all these precious moments before we have to say good bye to this organ that many may not realize just how vital it is. Yes, you can live without it working, millions do daily with Type 1, but insulin injections, and an insulin pump are not a cure, they are just life support to keep these awesome people alive daily. But honestly, they are no substitute when compared to fully functioning pancreas.

If you are reading this and you are new to the Diabetes community, I encourage you to Check out Trial Net. Get others in your life affected with Diabetes tested for antibodies that are seen in type 1 diabetes. It could very well save their life. No matter how prepared we believe we are, how much we convince ourselves we'll recognize the symptoms in other children of ours, we also get busy living life, and tend to overlook things. If you could have a heads up that it might happen, isn't that priceless?

It has definitely been a lifesaver in our household with Maggie.

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